Human Autopsy Act

Link to law: http://law.moj.gov.tw/ENG/LawClass/LawAll.aspx?PCode=L0020015

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Article 1


This Act applies when an autopsy is required for the purpose of conducting academic research.


Article 2


Gross anatomy may be performed by public or registered private medical schools.
In the following medical schools, hospitals or institutions, pathological dissection on a dead body may be conducted principally by physicians engaged in pathological study:
1. Public or registered private medical schools or their affiliated hospitals.
2. Public hospitals or private hospitals that are accredited to be teaching hospitals.
3. Pathological research or medical institutions that are approved by the central health competent authority for performing autopsy.


Article 3


Performance of gross anatomy or pathological dissection is allowed only on remains that meet the following conditions:
1. An autopsy is required for investigation of the cause of death, and with the consent of the deceased person’s family member.
2. The deceased person has a legally established will before death that states his/her consent for his/her remains being used for academic research.
3. Remains that can be used for autopsy upon the family member’s consent.
4. Remains that are not claimed by any family member or relative.
5. Remains on which no inquisition is required as verified by the prosecutor through forensic inspection, and with the family member’s consent or no family member or relative to claim the body.
6. An inmate’s remains, with the permission of the prison official, that are not claimed by any family member or relative, or with a legally established will being made before death, or for which the family member has given consent.
7. Remains of those died of acute infectious disease or suspected acute infectious disease on which a pathological dissection is required, and the family member shall not refuse without proper reason.
For dead bodies that are not claimed by any family member or relative as mentioned above, the police agency or health authority in charge shall inform the corpse collection organization formed jointly by local medical schools for distributing the corpses to various medical schools. Also, an announcement on newspapers shall be made to request claim of the dead bodies within 25 days. If no family member or relative claims a dead body upon one month from the publishing date of the newspaper announcement, gross anatomy may be performed by a medical school.
The abovementioned dead bodies shall not be handed over to the local government for burial unless verified to be decomposed body that cannot be used for gross anatomy or pathological dissection. However, this does not apply to the region where there is no corpse collection organization.


Article 4


For dead bodies described in various paragraphs of the preceding article, except those delivered directly by the prosecutor, a report (format as attached) shall be completed immediately upon reception of a body, which shall be sent to the prosecutor in charge.
After the dead body report is delivered to the prosecutor in charge, no preservative treatment shall be given or no autopsy shall be performed within 6 hours. For dead bodies not claimed by any family member or relative, the procedure as provided in Paragraph 2 of the preceding article shall still apply except the preservative treatment.
After receiving the delivery of the report mentioned in the preceding paragraph, the prosecutor may prohibit any preservative treatment or performance of autopsy in writing within 6 hours.


Article 5


A part of the dead body used for gross anatomy and pathological dissection shall be retained for use in academic research. For pathological dissection, the appearance of the body shall not be destroyed unless with the family member’s consent. However, this does not apply to circumstances described in Subparagraphs 1 to 7, Paragraph 1 of Article 3.


Article 6


If it is found through the autopsy that the cause of death is statutory infectious disease or homicide, suicide, manslaughter, catastrophe, etc., the competent authority in charge shall be informed within 24 hours.


Article 7


Medical schools, hospitals or institutions that perform the gross anatomy or pathological dissection shall establish a logbook for recording the following:
1. The serial number (the Xth case) of the gross anatomy or pathological dissection.
2. Name, date of birth, sex, native place, ID number, date of death, address, occupation and fingerprint of the dead body, and a photo should be taken when necessary.
3. The death certificate number.
4. Source of the dead body.
5. Reason for the anatomy or dissection.
6. Date of the autopsy.
7. Diagnosis of the dissection.
8. Treatment after the autopsy.
9. Name of the dissector.
For items listed in Subparagraph 2 above that cannot be identified, the word “Unknown” shall be entered.


Article 8


The dead body on which an autopsy is performed and for which no claim is made by any family member or relative shall be properly buried and marked by the medical school, hospital or institution that has performed the autopsy.


Article 9


Medical schools, hospitals or institutions that have performed autopsy shall compile a report according to the items listed in the logbook as mentioned in Article 7 before the end of January each year, including all dissected bodies in the previous year, and submit the report to the competent health authority in charge for transfer to the central health competent authority for reference.


Article 10


This Act shall come into effect on the date of promulgation.